When I first started my journey to becoming an herbalist, I didn’t know that it meant I would have to learn to be a healthy person.
I thought I was just "in it" to heal other people, to help others on their journey. Little did I know that it meant I would have to work on healing myself first.
It wasn’t until my back went out several years ago that I realized my own body has limits. That in order to be able to show up for my clients, let alone be able to get off the floor, I would have to make my own self care my TOP priority to be able to take care of others at all.
Helping other people can be:
Especially if you don’t know how to put up boundaries or take the precious time out of your day to show up for yourself.
So instead of telling my clients to do the work that I knew deep down inside that I needed to be doing too, I realized is was time to make a switch. I started carving out my “ME” time every day, and learned to teach from example rather than explaining what health should look like.
I didn’t learn how to be an incredible health practitioner by doing health perfectly.
I learned by trying, failing, making mistakes, failing some more, and then asking myself, how can I do this better.
Eventually, I learned that all I needed was to show up for myself first.
It’s time to become your own best friend and start showing up for yourself first!
Imagine that your best friend in the world was the type that got REALLY jealous and snarky when you made all the time for everyone in the world, except for them.
Knowing this about them, you try to check in with them often, even when you’re busy, just so that they know you care. You...
text them regularly,
make special plans to spend some one-on-one time with them, and
even go out of your way to give them special presents from time to time.
And if you did end up forgetting about them when life got really busy, you might end up feeling pretty bad that you didn't give your best friend in the whole world a little bit of attention, right?
Now, imagine that YOU are your own best friend, and that your inner voice is the one that starts to nag you when you...
don’t check in with yourself regularly,
when you don’t spend some one-on-one time with yourself, or
you don't go out of your way to give yourself special presents from time to time.
In fact, your inner best friend kinda even starts to get resentful at other people when you are showing up for everyone else except for you… Get the picture?
If you want to be an amazing practitioner, you gotta show up for your best friend in the whole world, and that best friend is you!
"You cannot pour from an empty cup."
– Chinese proverb for
Self-care has to come first!
One of the hardest realities I have had to learn is that:
In order to not burn out as a practitioner, I have to CONSTANTLY work on filling up my own cup first.
I actually schedule in my self care FIRST THING in the day, just so that the busyness of the day doesn’t leave me too tired, worn out, or busy to skip out on spending some quality time with me.
Especially if you are new to establishing self care routines or rituals, this has been the cornerstone for keeping my own cup full. I DAILY spend a little time doing at least one of the things below to stay in touch with my own needs, and make sure I am not trying to pour from an empty cup!
12 hacks for showing up for yourself, filling your own cup, and preventing burn out
As I have gone down the rabbit hole of self care over the years, I have learned that it comes in many flavors. The trick isn’t that you have to taste the rainbow, but more that you just have a lot of tools in your toolkit. That way, if one tool isn’t working, you have a backup, or more like it, you have the right tool for the job.
So I have learned to ask myself, what do I need right now, in this moment? What will fill up my cup? Do I need to feed my mind, my body, or my soul?
Here are a few tools to put in your toolkit, or to try out in case you haven’t tried this flavor of self-care before.
Hacks for getting your mind on right…
I find a lot of times my emotions bubble up and cause me to lose perspective of what’s really important. To manage this a little better (and be a nicer person to those you live and work with) try venting it all out on paper so that its not stuck in your head. This is especially great for stuck emotions, like anger or grief.
If you are new to journaling, check out the book: The Artist Way by Julia Cameron. She has a great step by step method of introducing you to the art and habit of journaling.
I used to think that meditation was the LAMEST thing in the world and hated anyone that ever told me to shut up, clear my mind, and focus on my breath…but luckily I had a good friend that taught me there are MANY different forms of meditation, and not all of them involve silence or finding your inner Buddha.
I started out with a 2 minute a day meditation, trying on a few apps until I found one that really worked. I found that by practicing calming down and observing the thoughts that came up, I learned I could switch my body into a calmer place faster and faster each time. Going from stress-cadette to chilled and loving life with just a few minutes of intentional practice. Try some of these on and see if any of them help you!
Great Meditation apps for beginners: Headspace, Calm, Aura, Insight Timer, Smiling Mind, Stop-Breath-&-Think
3) BRAIN DUMP
Especially when I am having an overwhelming week, this becomes one of my morning building blocks.
I spend 5-20 minutes just jotting down everything I need to get done. Then after everything is on paper, I pick the top 3 priorities for the day. Everything else is just icing on the cake, but if I focus on getting those three things done, I feel like I did a good job for the day.
4) DO NOTHING
If its been a rough week, sometimes just having a moment of peace is the best thing to add in!
Just lay down in quiet place, enjoy being with yourself for a moment (sometimes this means locking out your pets, partners, and kids!), not taking care of anyone or anything for just a few minutes!!!
Hacks for getting back in your body...
To me, it really doesn’t matter what kind it is. Running, yoga, qigong, tai chi, pillates… Anything that gets your blood pumping and your breath puffin will work.
I find that especially when I cannot FEEL whats up with me (its usually a sign of overwork or overwhelm, and putting too much on my plate), I just need a good run to clear my head and get back into my body, and check in with the PHYSICAL me.
Especially on a busy day, this is one of my favorites, just walking along the beach or down the street. I find moving my feet is much like a moving meditation, calming me down, and helping me get back in touch with my own bodies needs.
When you don’t have a chance to get out of the office (or your house), this is a great practice anywhere that doesn’t take special equipment or a know how. Deep breathing brings you back into your parasympathetic state (or your rest and digest state) so you can be calm and happy. Just get quiet or put on some relaxing music and breath in and out.
Try doing the the Four Fold Breath: If you want you can count as you breath, breathing in for four seconds, holding for four seconds, breathing out for four second, holding for four seconds. Repeat for several minutes or until you start to feel a bit more centered.
8) DRINK HERBAL TEA
I love starting off my day with a good cup of warming & uplifting tea. Try this one on if your looking for a mood lift to start your day.
Happy Morning Sunshine Tea
2 parts Calendula
2 parts Peppermint or Spearmint
1 part St. Johns Wort
1 part Lemon Balm
Make 1-2 Tbsp per cup of boiling water.
Cover & Steep for 10-20 minutes.
Enjoy with a splash of almond milk
or sweeten with honey!
Hacks for the feeding your soul...
9) CALL A FRIEND
I always find that when I cant think my way into a better state of mind, just chatting with a girlfriend for a few minutes seems to completely make my day. Next time you feel you need a soul recharge, just scroll through your contact list for an old friend you haven’t said hi to in a while.
I now try and schedule 1 good phone date a week (at least) so that I don’t lose touch with my old roommates, family, or friends from past jobs or school.
10) GET INTO NATURE
Time in nature is the ultimate recharge for me. So often I get the big ah-ha answers I have been looking for just by spending a few minutes sitting by a pond or watching the chimp monks or squirrels at play.
Carve time out regularly to recharge in nature by going hiking, camping, or rock hopping up a creek!
11) READ SOMETHING INSPIRING
I have several daily readers with positive quotes for the day. Especially if I have not been feeling like a happy person, these sometimes really help turn me around.
Some other good morning reads for me have been:
You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
Braving the Wilderness or Rising Strong by Brene Brown
The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer
12) LEARN SOMETHING ON YOUTUBE
I feel continuing education is ESSENTIAL to keeping me in the positive instead of the "I wish I did… or I should be better at…"
For anything you don’t know how to do, just look it up on youtube. I bet someone has already come up with a great how-to video on how to work through the things you don’t know how to do.
Some of my favorite things to lookup are:
Gardening, Organizing, Time management, Productivity, Business How-To's, Cooking, Dancing, Homesteading, Crafting, Mental Health, Healthy Relationships, Budgeting, Workouts, etc.
The more you want to take care of other people,
The more you have to take care of yourself first.
As holistic minded people, we want to be empowered to live better by seeing healthy examples of what health looks like, and not be shamed for what we are not doing right. So instead of being a wounded healer, telling everyone to do what you yourself should be working on, its time become a healed healer.
Work on yourself a little every day. Know its always a progress, not perfection, and as you grow in your self care, you naturally grow into your most incredible self as an herbalist, as a practitioner, and as a healed healer.
If you are ready to start your journey as a healer and make a bigger impact in your community, then join the herbal apprentice program to learn to make "SELF-CARE FIRST" your daily mantra!